We’ve known many fulltime RVers who work or run small businesses on the road, others who workamp at RV parks, and plenty who keep busy exploring new territory, visiting with friends, following their hobbies, or just relaxing under the awning with a cold drink.
We also know many fulltimers and snowbirds who don’t need the income from working but who enjoy giving something back to the world. Volunteering allows them to do that and fits very well with the RV lifestyle. No matter what your interests are, there are plenty of opportunities for RVers to volunteer their time to help make the world a better place.
Many people like hands-on activities, and we have met RVers who are involved with building homes for Habitat for Humanity and others who spend their time creating things like baby caps, shawls, and adaptive clothing for those in need, including veterans. I met a man once at the Escapees Raccoon Valley campground in Tennessee who made birdhouses that he donated to schools, parks, and campgrounds.
Or maybe you’re an organizer. We know RVers who collect used clothing, books, and school supplies which are donated to orphanages and schools in both the United States and Mexico.
Do you like animals, but feel that the responsibility of owning one doesn’t fit into your mobile lifestyle? Some RVers enjoy going to local animal shelters and volunteering. A few hours of cleaning kennels, grooming animals, or walking dogs can give you your puppy or kitten fix, and be much appreciated by both the critters and the staff.
And while helping animals is wonderful, helping our fellow man (and woman) is very rewarding, too. We have met RVers who volunteer to feed the homeless at shelters, volunteer at VA hospitals, and help out at senior centers. Some we know are entertainers who perform at hospitals and care centers as they travel around the country.
Are you a frustrated actor and/or a history nut? I can’t begin to tell you how many RVers we have met who are costumed interpreters at historical sites. They dress in period clothing, tell visitors about what life was like in the good old days, and demonstrate pioneer skills. If we ever retire, I think I would enjoy doing something like that.
What could be more fun than volunteering at a lighthouse? A few weeks ago we had lunch with a wonderful couple named Nina Fussing and Paul Novell, who publish the Wheeling it blog. They were just wrapping up a volunteer stint at North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. Besides having a fun volunteering gig, they also got a free campsite for their efforts. How cool is that?
There are other volunteering jobs that also include a free campsite. When we were down in Florence, Oregon in July we visited with longtime friends George and Diana Ruelens, who were camp hosting at Honeyman State Park. And a couple of days later we had lunch with Doug and Julie Livingston, friends who had just finished volunteering at South Beach State Park near Newport. A couple of good places to find these kinds of volunteering opportunities are at www.Volunteer.gov and State Park websites.
Whether you think you would like building things, helping those less fortunate, or volunteering at a state park, wildlife refuge, historical site, or any of the many other opportunities out there for RVers, trust me, if you have time to give there are plenty of places that will be more than happy to have you!
How about you? What kind of ways have you found to volunteer from your RV? Or, if you have not done any volunteering, what kinds of things do you think you’d enjoy doing?
Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is a collection a set of all four books in my friend Carol Ann Newsome’s popular Dog Park mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Sometimes my train of thought leaves the station without me.
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Another great volunteering opportunity for Escapees members is at the CARE (Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees) Center in Livingston, Texas. It was so rewarding to help prepare and serve meals to Escapees who no longer could be on the road but still wanted to live in their RV’s in an RV community. We also drove them to doctors’ appointments or just visited with them to keep them company.
During the winter Al and I volunteer at the Homosassa Wildlife Park in Homosassa Florida. I do the interpretive carts and Al drives one of the boats. Great fun and they are always looking for volunteers.
We serve with “Laborers for Christ” (Church construction – several denominations and groups do the same thing) most summers and go to the RGV for Square Dancing along with going to Square Dances around the country with our RV. Also Biking, Hiking, and casual birding. Not quite fulltime, but only spend 3-4 months at home any year.
One of the most fun things we did while full timing was to work as background actors in LA. We had planned to spend a week there doing the tourist things, decided to sign up at Central Casting since we are both actors, and wound up staying five weeks. You make minimum wage (California’s,) many times get fed as much as 3 times a day, meet a lot of cool people you would never meet otherwise, and (if you’re lucky) get your face on national TV and movies. We had so much fun, we went back the next year and stayed two months. The money just about pays for the extra expense of staying in LA. Although we were both trained theatre actors, in LA it’s all about how you look, and the fact that you can follow directions.